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Head coach pleased

SI-Vanuatu friendly next week

All Stars forward Kennedy Watemae looks to regather the ball as national defenders Emmanuel Poila and John Aeta closes in. Head Coach Felipe Vega Arango Alonso says he is pleased with how the four selected provincial players for the senior football team performed in their friendly on Tuesday.

THE senior men’s soccer has kicked off their preparations for their Oceania, 2018 World Cup qualifiers match against New Zealand with a 3-1 over the Solomon Cup All Stars team yesterday.

Goals from Henry Fa’arodo, Micah Lea’alafa and Gagame Feni saw the national side defeating the All Stars, after Clement Baegeni pulled a goal back for the All Stars in the second half.

Solomon Islands national football coach Felipe Vega Arango- Alonso said he was pleased with the result and performance yesterday, as they wait to take on the Vanuatu national team in a second friendly match next week at Lawson Tama.

“Some areas needs little work but it’s a good result for the team. It was an entertaining match, for us, the players and the fans. Everyone was entertained so yes I’m pleased,” he said.

Mr Alonso said he was also happy with the performance of the Solomon Cup All Stars players who were selected for the national teams’ training squad.

“I’m happy with how they did things and they are happy they are part of the national team. Martin Rence, Andrew Raragia did a good job, Clement Baegeni and Kennedy Watemae were also brilliant.

“I would have liked to play against Clifton Aumae today because I like his game style. But I thought the selected provincial and the players from the national squad performed brilliantly despite undergoing hard training on Monday,” he said.

With Benjamin Totori still in New Zealand and the prospect of him not available for the Vanuatu friendly, Felipe said he is happy with the striking option available for him and will use the friendly to prepare Watemae and Baegeni for the World Cup qualifiers match against New Zealand.

“I want to win always and I’m happy because I will have the players who did not play with us today (yesterday) for the friendly match against Vanuatu next week.

“Totori is currently playing in New Zealand and might not be available to play next week. However, I’m happy with the options upfront for our second friendly match with the likes of Baegeni and Watemae.

“New Zealand plays at a different level so I might start with a different 11 against them in September but at least I can have these players with me. Hopefully we can take some of them with the team to play New Zealand,” Coach Alonso said.

Solomon Islands will take on New Zealand on September at the North Harbour Stadium in Auckland for the first match and then will meet them on September 5 at the Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara.

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